This is the season of placements and by the look of things, it seems to be bright for students at the very top of the engineering pyramid. The 23 odd IITs within India represent a significant proportion of the best engineering minds in the country. Although the number of vacant seats within such institutions has gone up in the past couple of years, they remain the most attractive institutions of higher education when it comes to engineering subjects.
Given the transition that the economy is witnessing in terms of shifting talent preferences, the year-end has brought good news for engineering students sitting for placements. Below are some noticeable trends from this year.
The increasing role of PSUs
Even with a drop in foreign companies who have signed up for placements to get a chance to recruit the best of the talent in India, IITs optimistic regarding the placements scenario. One of the key reasons for this has been the push within such institutions to create more ways for PSUs to come on campus and directly provide their students with job opportunities.
According to a report in Economic Times, top IITs have decided to open a window in the month of November exclusively for public sector companies and agencies such as the Indian Space Research Organisation to visit their campuses. This aims to provide students a direct opportunity to interact and understand the talent requirements within PSUs, most of which are currently at the helm of leading initiatives like Make in India.
Breaking away from the tradition of kicking off placements on December 1, innovative practice such as this provides a vital boost to students who prefer to work in core sector jobs rather than taking up noncore jobs within sectors like IT which are currently in a turmoil. Job opportunities from PSUs also provide students a way of opting for a more assured job. Given the recent changes within the economy, this becomes a key perk, comparable to the likes of higher salaries and stock options that many rival employers might provide.
“From this year, we want to give students the first chance to work at PSUs or PSEs even before the placements begin. In the earlier years, we never invited any company before December,” said Debasis Deb, chairman of the career development center at IIT-Kharagpur according to the report
A significant increase in Pre Placement Offers
Continuing with its signs of growth, the number of Pre Placement Offers at some IITs have already shot up compared to the situation last year. This, even as companies have more than two weeks left to snap up talent through PPOs from the premier engineering institutes, are positive signs for the top institutes.
"We were a little apprehensive earlier about the job market, but seeing the trend in PPOs this year we certainly see positivity in the overall job market," said NP Padhy, professor-in-charge of placement at IIT Roorkee in a report to ET. "Companies offer PPOs to deserving candidates to ensure that they do not miss out on talent during final placements," he said.
In addition, to this most IITs are also witnessing a growth of PPOs from core engineering companies. The PPOs that have come from core engineering sector companies have also gone up for the students of several IITs, especially. Institutes such as IIT Kharagpur, IIT Guwahati, IIT Bombay and IIT Roorkee witnessed 25% increase in the Pre-Placement Offers (PPOs) in the core engineering sectors - such as infrastructure, manufacturing, petroleum, and mining. With non-core sector jobs still remaining volatile, this seems to be a healthy sign for students who look at securing core jobs but due to its unavailability often end up choosing jobs in areas like IT and consultancy.
The reintroduction of start-ups into the fray
The IITs recently announced that they intend to revoke the ban on 31 companies, which included start-ups like Zomato, from participating in campus placements. This comes after a move last year from the AIPC (All-IIT placement committee) to ban companies from withdrawing their offers quite close to the joining dates of the students.
“As per the decision was taken during the 23rd AIPC (All-IIT placement committee) meeting at IIT Bombay... the ban on companies blacklisted ...on 14 Aug 2016 is hereby revoked with immediate effect,” the IITs said in a joint statement.
Kaustubha Mohanty, coordinator of AIPC explained there were three reasons the ban was revoked: one, some students want to work for some big start-ups in the list; two, the ban was for one year only, hence a decision was needed before the placement season began; and three, the new IITs could benefit from having more companies in the mix.
With the startup ecosystem being greatly relevant today in fostering the development of many young entrepreneurs and skilled professionals and the ban would have had a detrimental effect if continued. Both to the startups who are in need of good talent and the students who look for such opportunities to innovate and contribute to towards the growth of such firms, and in turn, the growth of the sector.
With this move, the engineering institutes ensure that companies like Uber, Zomato and Flipkart line up to attract the best engineering talent at an undergraduate level. But students have been cautioned to perform background checks on the startups that start coming once the placement season officially kicks off.
The efforts put in by the institutions is a good example of how engineering colleges can create the right mix of companies that come to hire their students. Although the skill and capability of the students are the final metrics by which they ensure their employability, it becomes equally important for institutions to facilitate the process of good placements. This begins by effectively fostering a educational environment that promotes excellence and usually ends with a high rate of placements by the term end.